Are you hiding in a plain site?

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Is your website or blog helping your visibility?

This post comes about in answer to several general questions coming up from clients, usually solopreneurs, who are dipping their toes in the online world. Here’s some information I shared at a recent event.

These days, serious business owners have a website or blog to help market their business. A website with your own domain name (URL) establishes a professional online presence and offers a central hub for all of your online and offline marketing efforts. However, if you haven’t updated your website recently or posted fresh content to it, it’s time to punch up your online presence to improve your chances of succeeding in your niche, especially if it happens to be a competitive niche.

Take a look at your website 

If your website is more than a few years old, chances are it might not be mobile-friendly. I have come across several clients that are unaware of this roadblock to being seen online, and often these clients don’t quite have an understanding of why they need to update their websites and how this is related to the boom in Smartphones and tablet computers. However, making sure your site is mobile-friendly should be your first enhancement. Make sure you check this one off your ToDo List.

Next, do you have a blog? A blog is an interesting and consistent way to present fresh content related to your business or niche on a regular basis. Write the content, or outsource it, upload it, and set the publication date.  Your blog will be updated regularly without you having to work on it every day. 

Don't let overwhelm hold you back

If you are working in a small company or are a solo entrepreneur, you might be thinking that you have no idea how to do either of these task and have no budget to hire anyone. The good news is that you can kill two birds with one stone with a number of website/blog platforms. You can choose from free and paid options to create your vision of your online presence. 

One of the most popular options comes in two flavours, so this option allows two ways to accomplish this web presence. The first is to set up a free blog at WordPress.com. This basic version of the program is mobile-friendly and will show you just how easy WordPress is to use.  Link to your site and vice versa to drive more traffic.

The second way to do this is to download a copy of the free program at WordPress.org and upload it to the main folder of your website, or to a subfolder, such as one called blog.  Install the program and start adding content.

Other platform options

You've probably heard of several platform options you might want to consider. Check these out:

Squarespace: Considered to be a WordPress alternative,  Squarespace is extremely easy to use and a completely hosted solution. There are no plugins or additional modules to install.

Shopify: If your thoughts are more to an online store, then Shopify is a great alternative to WordPress. It provides easy to use tools to create your own online shop. You can sell your products and accept payments. Shopify comes with easy to use tools to get you started with your website. It has ready-made templates, apps, and lots of integration options.

Tumblr: Tumblr allows users to choose from free or premium themes to make the site your own, including your own custom domain or URL. Apart from your blog, you can also create pages. It is a completely hosted solution, so you don’t have to worry about installing or maintaining any software.

Medium: Medium is a popular publishing platform. It is different than WordPress in many ways. The focus is on blogging and the community aspect. It aims to connect people with stories and ideas that matter to them. Medium is designed to provide a clutter free writing area for publishers and a similar reading experience for the readers. It looks beautiful on all devices and screen sizes.

There are other choices, though not necessarily the best choices for business websites. These include:

Weebly: It allows you to create your own website using pre-designed templates and their drag-drop page builder. Weebly has limited eCommerce support, but you can use your own domain names.

Wix: Is free to use for small personal and business websites. It comes with pre-designed templates that users can modify using the drag and drop page builder.

Wix also has eCommerce support with its paid plans, which allows site owners to accept online payments using PayPal or authorize.net.

Blogger: It has most of the features you would need for blogging. A commenting system, built-in social capabilities, easy to use, templates, and the option to use your own domain name.
Some of the areas you may want to add to your site include any of the following. Adding any of these components can increase the visitor-friendliness of your site: 

- Auctions
- A forum or discussion board
- Top niche products lists with links to buy
- An article directory
- A membership site, free or paid
- A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) portal

And much more.

If your site isn’t getting the kind of traffic you want or enough repeat visitors, update your site/blog, add functionality, and see what a difference it can make to your profits. It's time to make sure you're not hiding in a plain site and now it's time to get out there - front and centre to serve those customers, even the ones you haven't met yet.